Hayward will get new $6 Million wood pellet plant

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

From a report by Julie Pearce on KBJR-TV:

The Sawyer County Development Corporation has finalized a deal the Great Lakes Renewable Energy to locate a $6 million wood pellet plant four miles south of Hayward.

"From an asthetic standpoint, it is a good fit, it is a good location."

"It is also centrally located to the raw material supply that we'll be using."
The plant will output 36,000 tons of wood pellets each year.

"The primary function of the pellets is to be burned, and when you burn it it generates heat, so it's primary use is for a heating source."

The operations and plant manager Herb Seeger says the plant will employ 21 local workers, 12 loggers, and another 50 temporary construction jobs. . . .

Because the plant's only emissions will be water vapors, it is considered an environmentally friendly project.

"A renewable energy source, that will only compliment wind, solar, type powers as we go into the future."

You vote at the pump

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hans Noeldner, an active member of the Madison Peak Oil Group, cruised the Farmers' Market to alert people that they vote every time they pump gas, while Beth Campbell and Ed Blume staffed a table.

Recycle, reuse, and use methane from landfill and wind

Monday, October 29, 2007

From a guest editorial by Stan Zdrojowy in The Tomah Journal:

We are now in the midst of another controversy on the Monroe County level. As I see it, our current landfill is almost full ... is that correct?

. . .since landfills generate methane gas, cannot we devise methods to capture that gas for commercial use. This would make landfills a valuable resource, and we would be scrambling to create them for their commercial value. It is unfortunate that this was not an option before the City of Tomah spent a million dollars or so to dig up the landfill on Noth Avenue several years ago to haul it to another landfill. Could we not have tapped that valuable resource of methane gas somehow and made that landfill a positive rather than a negative? An added complication ... in order to dig up that landfill to move the garbage, a whole forest of trees was eliminated (were they hauled to the landfill?). Was that good for the environment to cut down those trees?

. . .And as long as I am on the subject of alternative energy, can I put in a plug for wind generation?

Berkeley will pay for residents' up-front solar costs

Saturday, October 27, 2007

From a story by Carolyn Jones in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Berkeley is set to become the first city in the nation to help thousands of its residents generate solar power without having to put money up front - attempting to surmount one of the biggest hurdles for people who don't have enough cash to go green.

The City Council will vote Nov. 6 on a plan for the city to finance the cost of solar panels for property owners who agree to pay it back with a 20-year assessment on their property. Over two decades, the taxes would be the same or less than what property owners would save on their electric bills, officials say.

"This plan could be our most important contribution to fighting global warming," Mayor Tom Bates said Thursday. "We've already seen interest from all over the U.S. People really think this plan can go."

The idea is sparking interest from city and state leaders who are mindful of California's goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Officials in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica and several state agencies have contacted Berkeley about the details of its plan.

Lust for oil will only create hell for our kids

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hans Noeldner explains the marco-economics of oil in a letter-to-the-editor of The Capital Times:

Dear Editor: Hooray! The petro-dollar recycling racket that was set up in the 1970s is still working!

Bloomberg online notes: "The biggest quarterly rally for U.S. government securities in five years is getting an extraordinary boost from the burgeoning reinvestment of petro-dollars by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. ... Petroleum exporters are adding to holdings of U.S. debt three times faster than other foreign investors."

No, our nation's invasion of Iraq, massive occupation of the Mideast-Central Asian "axis of oil," and pending bombing of Iran aren't just about supplying Americans with our next petro fix. Nor are they occurring for the sole reason that our government has been hijacked by neocons who have subverted our national interests to the projects of Zionism and worldwide U.S. hegemony.

America's continuing imperialistic enterprise is also about arm-twisting other nations to eat our debt. If we can't borrow money to keep on buying gas-guzzling Chevy Tahoes, what will GM Janesville employees do for work? And if we don't go on purchasing McMansions we can't afford -- if we can't keep the sprawl-building-bubble afloat -- how will our paving machine operators and sheet-rockers make minimum payments on their credit cards, adjustable rate mortgages, and the three-ton Tonka trucks they drive to the Main Street Tap?

The real elephant in the room is that many -- perhaps most -- Americans now have unsustainable jobs. We've automated and outsourced ourselves out of honest, useful work, and today our economy and employment are driven by conspicuous resource-gobbling consumption. The longer this goes on, the more devastating will be our fall, and the worse the hell our children will inherit from us.

Hans Noeldner, Oregon

The dangers of autobesity

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From a commentary by Steve Hiniker published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Face it. We have a driving problem, and it's killing us.

We are addicted to driving, and we are in denial about it. We lash out at those who bring it to our attention and label them as "anti-car." Unfortunately, that is about as constructive as labeling a doctor as "anti-food" if that doctor recommends a diet.

The signs of autobesity are everywhere. If miles were calories, we would be in intensive care. Last year, Wisconsinites racked up an unbelievable 60 billion miles behind the wheel. Each one of us drove, on average, twice as many miles as drivers 25 years ago. We spend, on average, $7,000 a year per car on our addiction - plus parking costs.

Our driving addiction is costing us lives, dollars and destroyed communities every day. In Wisconsin, there is a motor vehicle crash once every five minutes, an injury every 14 minutes and a fatality every 11 hours. We use euphemisms to rationalize the horrible side effects of driving. Though we refer to car crashes as "accidents," almost all car crashes are avoidable events.
Steve Hiniker is executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, an environmental group.

WPPI seeks proposals on GreenMax Homes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From the Web site of WPPI (Wisconsin Public Power, Inc.):

. . . WPPI is soliciting competitive proposals for grants that will help fund the construction of up to three net zero energy homes in WPPI member utility service areas. Net zero homes combine state-of-the-art green and environmentally friendly technologies and practices with renewable energy technology to ensure that the homes produce as much energy as they consume.

“As customer-owned utilities, WPPI and its members are uniquely positioned to encourage energy conservation and efficiency, as well as to educate customers on the benefits of renewable energy,” said WPPI President and CEO Roy Thilly. “We are pleased to present this opportunity for creating reliable, sustainable homes.”

Grants will be awarded to cover part of the incremental cost of designing and building a GreenMax Home over the cost of constructing a conventional house. New construction projects as well as existing homes are eligible. Applications are available to download through a link here. Grantees will be announced by December 21, 2007

Solar hot water conference scheduled, Dec. 13, Wisconsin Dells

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Focus on Energy will host a one-day conference to help businesses tap into this growing market.

The Wisconsin Solar Hot Water Conference will help plumbing, heating, or solar businesses move into the market or expand if they're already installing residential or commercial solar hot water systems.

Register here.

Focus on Energy facts sheets explain the basics of solar hot water.

Green Building award goes to Aldo Leopold Foundation

Saturday, October 20, 2007

From a story by Tim Damos in the Portage Daily Register:

Sauk County now is home to what is being called a wonder of green building design, thanks to the vision of the folks at the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

"This building does things that people are dreaming about," said Rick Fedrizzi, president of the U.S. Green Building Council. "There are people out there saying, 'Somehow, somewhere a building will be able to do that.' This building is doing it today."

The USGBC is a nonprofit organization that encourages sustainable construction and building design. It certifies green building projects and ranks them using a point system that measures energy efficiency and sustainability.

The new $4 million Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, northeast of Baraboo near the Wisconsin River, received 61 of a possible 69 points, the highest point total recorded by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, which is used by the USGBC.

It's the first "net zero energy" building in Wisconsin, and the first carbon-neutral building certified by LEED. During the first few months of operation, the building sold energy back to the local power utility and made $650, according to the Leopold Foundation.

Ann Arbor, Mich., declares itself first U.S. city to use LEDs in all streetlights

Friday, October 19, 2007

From a story posted on Grist:

Ann Arbor, Mich., home to the main campus of the University of Michigan, announced that it intends to become the first U.S. city to convert all of its downtown streetlights to LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The energy-saving lights use half the energy and are expected to last five times as long. In two years, when the city of 113,000 completes the conversion of all 1,046 streetlights, they'll cut CO2 emissions by about 2,425 tons a year. Ann Arbor has already converted all its traffic lights to LEDs.

Mpower Campaign Launched to reduce CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons

From a press release issued by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz:

Madison - Mpower partners have set an aggressive goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Madison area. Under the cooperative private-public-not-for-profit "100K Clean Energy Challenge," the City of Madison and its initial partners - Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), University of Wisconsin, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Dane County United, Citizens Utility Board, RENEW Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin, Sierra Club, Madison Area Clean Energy Coalition, and Sustain Dane - will seek to reduce citywide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 100,000 tons by 2011.

The campaign was launched this week and includes a web site www.mpoweringmadison.com. Business and residents can go to this web site and sign-up and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Global climate change affects all of us, and it is up to all of us to do our part to address this issue," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "This partnership will help make Madison a leader in showing how local communities can lead the way forward in protecting our environment for future generations."

The City of Madison component of the 100K Clean Energy Challenge calls for city government to reduce its CO2 "footprint" by 25% by 2011, to eliminate 15,000 tons of CO2, through the following strategies:

· Increase the energy efficiency of city facilities, reducing natural gas and electricity consumption. The city is actively implementing green building and energy efficiency practices, and recently created a new Facilities and Sustainability position to focus solely on this issue.

· Purchase more energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar and install renewable energy systems on city properties.

· Increase fuel efficiency and biofuels in the city's fleet of vehicles. The city is already pursuing this goal through establishing fuel-efficiency standards, the use of hybrid diesel-electric buses, as well as experimentation with biodiesel fuels.

Alternative energy key to economic development

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From a story by Steve Cahalan in the La Crosse Tribune:

Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, ethanol and biodiesel will play a key role in economic development, officials said Wednesday at an economic forum at the Radisson Hotel.

About 130 people attended the event, held by the La Crosse Area Development Corp. and the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gundersen Lutheran plans to use renewable energy sources and energy efficiency improvements as part of its new Envision initiative, said Jerry Arndt, the health care company’s senior vice president of business services.

Energy management, recycling, and waste management and control are the three primary elements of Envision, the company’s plan for energy and environmental stewardship.

Arndt said solar panels will provide the electricity needed to power lighting, ventilation and elevator operation for the underground parking structure that will be completed in 2008 next to Gundersen Lutheran’s main clinic. And starting next year, solar energy will be used for at least some of the hot water for Gundersen Lutheran’s laundry operations.

Rock towns eye wind project restrictions

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From a story by Marie Ann Ames in the Janesville Gazette:

You can't rope the wind.

But you can wrap red tape around wind turbines.

One town at a time, rural Rock County is sitting up and paying attention to wind farms.

The town of Beloit Planning Commission has its first wind farm discussion on an upcoming agenda. No one has approached the town with a plan for a "farm" that uses wind to create energy, but they want to stay ahead of the curve, said town Administrator Bob Museus.

"After seeing what's going on in Magnolia, we may be interested in writing an ordinance before they even try to get here," Museus said.

A New Focus, November 13, Madison

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Energy Services Professionals invites you to a social hour, November 13.

Meet the new team at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin who will be leading the Focus On Energy program:

- Carol Stemrich, Asst. Administrator-Gas Division
- Jolene Sheil, Focus Program Manager
- Preston Schutt, Business Program Manager
- Allison Schill, Residential and Renewables Program Manager
- Greg Laubmeier, Budget and Policy Analyst
Hear a brief history and update on the Focus On Energy program in Wisconsin, then get to know the new leadership team, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Time: Tuesday, November 13, 4:30 to 5:30

Place: WECC Office, 431 Charmany Drive, Madison, WI

Social hour from 5:30 to 6:30. Food and drink will be provided.
(Subs, cheese, veggies and other good Wisconsin food)

Not able to get to Madison? You can join us via teleconference and/or Web link.

Cost: 20$ AESP members

30$ Non-members

10$ Non-profit organizations

Free Students/Unemployed

RSVP to Johna at j.r@tds.net before November 6.
(Checks should be made out to AESP-WI and brought to the social)

If you are not a current AESP member, register on time and you will be eligible to win a free one-year membership in AESP!

Business case for sustainability, Oct. 17

Monday, October 15, 2007

Raising Our Game: Future of Sustainable Business
Wed, October 17, 2007
4:30PM - 5:30PM
Grainger Hall
975 University Ave, Madison, WI
See Today in Grainger for room number
Sponsored by CIBER, WAGE, Nelson Institute

Companies view themselves increasingly as “corporate citizens,” characterized by a growing focus on social and environmental issues as part of their business strategy. Linked to these changes in the business world, sustainability is also becoming a bigger part of business school curricula. What is the business case for organizations to re-define their bottom line and what is the competitive advantage of corporate citizenship in an increasingly global economy? What are some future scenarios that might play out across industries? How can the trends toward entrepreneurship and innovation serve as leapfrog solutions? How can the business school curriculum address corporate social responsibility and what are some career opportunities for business school students interested in this area?

Contact Person
Name: Suzanne Dove
Phone: 608-265-4938
Email: asdove@bus.wisc.edu
URL: www.bus.wisc.edu/ciber/home

Governors to hold energy summit, Milwaukee, Nov. 14-15

Sunday, October 14, 2007

From the Web site of the Midwestern Governors Association:

The 2007 MGA Energy Summit is the culmination of Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's 2007 Chairman's agenda and will be held in Milwaukee on Nov. 14 and 15. The two-day meeting will encourage Governors to explore key energy strategies and polices for the region.

Gov. Doyle, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, will be hosting the summit.

At the summit issues such as energy efficiency, renewable electricity, advanced coal and carbon capture, biofuels development and climate stewardship will be addressed. The summit audience will include regional policy leaders from business, government, and non-profit arenas.
Click here to access agenda and registration.

Lung Association Praises Doyle for Energy Summit

Friday, October 12, 2007

From the Wisconsin chapter of the American Lung Association:

Milwaukee--The American Lung Association of the Wisconsin (ALA-WI) thanked Governor Jim Doyle, chair of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA), for hosting the Midwestern Governors Association Energy Security and Climate Change Summit on November 14-15, 2007. At the Summit, Governors and citizens from across the Midwest will pursue new regional initiatives to increase production and use of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, and ensure a reliable electrical grid.

“We thank the Governor for his efforts and leadership on renewable energy, biofuels, and cleaner air,” said Dona Wininsky, Director of Public Policy and Communications for the ALA-WI. “This summit can highlight that energy security and global warming efforts like biofuels can reduce asthma and other respiratory diseases that threaten our health.”

Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security, and reduce soot particulate matter pollution that causes asthma and heart attacks.

“We hope this conference can show us how to save lives, energy, and keep jobs here in Wisconsin and the Midwest,” said Wininsky.

The Summit will be co-hosted by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, immediate past chair of the MGA and current chair of the National Governors Association.

“Minnesota offers many programs we can learn from in Wisconsin like requiring more biofuels and investing in more clean, renewable energy,” said Wininsky. “Now is the time for the Legislature to pass measures to promote biofuels like the $30 million for the bioeconomy and money for biofuel pumps.”

Regional policy leaders from business, government, and non-profit arenas are invited to attend the Summit. To register or for more information visit the MGA website.

The Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Summit was organized by the Midwestern Governors Association. Working groups of public and private stakeholders, staffed by the Great Plains Institute, developed the agreements for the Summit.

Straw house offers energy independence

Thursday, October 11, 2007

From a story by Adam Bissen in the the Onalaska Community Life:
Marilyn Pedretti is eager to get settled into her new straw-built and solar-powered home in the town of Holland, but she’s not confining the housewarming celebration to only her friends and family.

Pedretti has included her just-about-finished house in the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Wisconsin Solar Tour [Oct. 5-6] as a way to spread the good word about alternative energy and green construction techniques to anyone who is interested.

The walls of Pedretti’s house are 18 inches thick, constructed of straw and clay and conserve three times more heat than the typical wood-built home. It’s designed to be heated from the sun, but also has radiant heat in the floors, a fireplace in the living room and a furnace that can run off 12 solar-charged batteries. A tall solar panel in the front yard collects all the energy for the home.

Sparta ethanol controversy settled

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

From a story by Steve Cahalan in the La Crosse Tribune:

SPARTA, Wis. — Coulee Area Renewable Energy still plans to build an ethanol plant in the region, but it won’t be next to Century Foods International’s main plant in Sparta.

In a brief joint press release Tuesday, CARE and Century Foods said they have reached a tentative settlement on all claims related to CARE’s effort to build an ethanol refinery at that site. The rest of the terms of the settlement are confidential, the press release said.

Since February, Century Foods and many nearby residents have fought the ethanol plant project at Sparta City Planning Commission and Sparta City Council meetings, and by filing lawsuits.

Century Foods representatives argued emissions from the ethanol plant would contaminate its milk-based products, while some residents were concerned about potential odor problems. The farmers and other investors in CARE disputed those claims.

“I give credit to both sides for coming to an agreement,” state Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, said after hearing of the settlement. “Negotiation is always better than litigation.”

Government sanctioned bombing of Appalachia

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

From a story by Antrim Caskey on AlterNet:

Thanks to Bush, Big Coal uses 3 million pounds of explosives each day in West Virginia to fuel our addiction to dirty energy.
On a calm, clear morning in the forested mountains of southern West Virginia, 12-year-old Chrystal Gunnoe played outdoors in the green mountain valley where her family has lived for hundreds of years. It was Veteran's Day and a school holiday. Chrystal's mother, Maria Gunnoe, 38, was inside when she heard her daughter yell for help.

Gunnoe rushed outside to find Chrystal coming towards her. Chrystal was coughing and struggling to breath, running from a strange-looking cloud that was moving down the valley and headed towards their house. Gunnoe would later learn the strange cloud came from something known as a "slow burning blast" -- an explosion set at the coal mine above her home that failed to ignite and instead burned slowly, releasing a wet toxic cloud of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide.

Gunnoe lives in Bob White, W.Va., where coal companies have become increasingly unfriendly neighbors. Her home is surrounded by thousands of acres where a radically destructive type of coal mining is practiced -- mountaintop removal/valley fill (MTR) coal mining -- and it's turning Maria Gunnoe's life upside down.

Confronting the triple crisis: climate change, peak oil and global resource depletion

Monday, October 08, 2007

From Earth Watch Ohio, as published on EnergyBulletin.net:

A Washington D.C. teach-in on climate change, peak oil and global resource depletion included a presentation from an Ohio nonprofit organization on how to curtail energy use in housing, transportation and food production. The teach-in, entitled Confronting the Global Triple Crisis—The Problems and The Solutions, featured some 60 speakers from 16 countries and attracted close to 900 people to George Washington University over three days in mid September.

Megan Quinn Bachman, outreach director for The Community Solution in Yellow Springs, Ohio, detailed her nonprofit’s efforts to deal with “converging calamities,” including the coming peak and decline in worldwide oil production which will result in oil shortages and skyrocketing prices. “Community is a vision of the future where we conserve and share scarce local resources rather than deplete, destroy and battle over seemingly abundant distance resources,” Bachman said. “It is a vision where we consume far fewer resources, but have a better life, filled with valued relationships rather than valued possessions.”

Mid-state tech school investigates new renewable programs

Sunday, October 07, 2007

From an article in the Stevens Point Journal:

The Mid-State Technical College Board of Directors is urging the college to pursue programming opportunities in renewable energy. MSTC is exploring the development of five renewable energy associate degree programs including biorefinery technology, renewable energy specialist, renewable electricity technician, renewable thermal energy technician and energy conservation technician.

Pending workforce investigation and approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, MSTC may begin to offer three of the programs in 2008 and the remaining two in 2009 at the Wisconsin Rapids campus.

Grand Chute warms up to solar

Friday, October 05, 2007

From a story by Ed Lowe in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

GRAND CHUTE — The Plan Commission won't try to stop Donna Kuether from erecting a solar collector in her backyard, but she might have to wait a bit.

The commission endorsed an ordinance Tuesday to allow town residents to erect state-law-compliant solar- or wind-powered generators.

It also endorsed a six-month moratorium on their installation to allow the town time to investigate whether individual projects present health, welfare or safety problems. The dual measures will go to the Town Board for final approval Oct. 16

The proposed town ordinance was drafted in response to Kuether, the first party to seek town authority to plant a solar collector in her backyard.

Tour Wisconsin solar (and renewable) homes, Oct. 5-6

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The tour demonstrates that renewable energy is practical, reliable and affordable in today's economy. Tour sites are owned, lived in, and worked in by ordinary people. They are helping others open the door to renewable energy. Although it is officially called the Solar Tour, sites include all sorts of renewable energy technologies and other innovative features. On the WI Solar Tour you can see:

Wind and solar (PV) electric systems
Solar thermal and solar water heating systems
Green building construction and passive solar design
Energy efficient heating technologies
Energy efficient appliances
Environmentally friendly landscaping
And more!

Find homes open in your area of Wisconsin.

Papermakers turn green, study says

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From an article by Joel Dresang in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Saying that papermaking is "one of our planet's most significant environmental challenges," a coalition of environmental groups on Tuesday released a report citing progress by the paper industry and pushing for more improvements.

The report is the first from the Environmental Paper Network to monitor several indicators suggesting the impact of paper consumption and paper manufacturing on the environment. The industry plays an essential role in Wisconsin, which has led the nation in paper production since 1953.

Among the findings is evidence of increased reuse of paper, scrutinized forestry practices and cleaner manufacturing processes. . . .

For instance, papermakers have been struggling with the escalating cost of energy.

"It drove the previous owners out," said Bill Johnson Jr., government affairs director at Flambeau River Papers, which last year took over the closed Smart Papers mill in Park Falls.

Flambeau River has been developing alternative fuel systems that are saving expenses and the environment, reducing daily coal consumption on one boiler to 10 tons from 55, with plans to phase out coal in the next three months.

Green approval can be incentive but shouldn't be the only reward

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From a column by Whitney Gould in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Its critics liken it variously to a death march or a colonoscopy. At best, it's a long, costly slog through red tape.

So why would anyone want to go through the headache of getting a "green" imprimatur for a new building?

Well, there's the satisfaction of doing the right thing for the environment, when your building is recognized for using natural light, energy-efficient mechanical systems, recycled materials, storm water-runoff controls and other resource-saving devices. And there's the prestige of that LEED sticker, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council. That can be a great marketing tool.

But even some environmentally conscious architects and building owners think the process of getting that sticker is not worth the hassle. Ken Leinbach, executive director of the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee's Riverside Park, is one. Hiring consultants and doing the paperwork to get the LEED stamp of approval for his already very green building would have added an estimated $75,000 to the $3.4 million cost, so Leinbach skipped the process.

"It just didn't make any sense. We decided we'd rather put the money into actual green features," such as a vegetative roof and solar panels, he said. The LEED-free building has won national admiration as a model for green building and saves as much as $15,000 a year on energy costs.

Eco forum stresses support; more help will speed process

Monday, October 01, 2007

From an article by Jason G. Zencka in the Stevens Point Journal:

Proponents of ecological sustainability in snacking would have been pleased with the spread at Tuesday’s League of Women Voters forum on ecomunicipalities, where locally-grown beets with goat cheese were served on compostable plates made from a sugar cane byproduct. Even the cups boasted a corn starch lining instead of plastic; napkins were made of 100 percent recycled paper.

For those attendees interested in turning Stevens Point into an ecomunicipality, however, forum leaders stressed progress would be much more hard-won.

“It is a democratic process,” said Fifth District Alderperson Amy Heart of the process of writing and passing an resolution to make Stevens Point Wisconsin’s 12th ecomunicipality, “which means it’s very difficult.”

Months after mayor Andrew Halverson formed an Ecomunicipality Task Force, task force members now are asking the community for ideas on how Stevens Point might become a city that prizes sustainable development.

“It’s all about having as many people involved as possible,” Heart said.

Among the many cities across the globe that have adopted ecomunicipality charters, emphasis has been placed on actions such as using alternative fuel sources, environmentally friendly cleaning and painting materials, and creating safe zones for pedestrian traffic.

For the task force members, however, the challenge is to glean from the community ideas of how the city might become more sustainable months before offering a resolution to the city council this spring.